Kevin Murphy gives a pep talk to two Yukon players during the 2023 Arctic Winter Games (Courtesy/Thorsten Gohl)

Kevin Murphy gives a pep talk to two Yukon players during the 2023 Arctic Winter Games (Courtesy/Thorsten Gohl)

Two Yukoners recognized with national table tennis awards

Kevin Murphy and Brian Stuart hope to grow sport in the territory

Kevin Murphy and Brian Stuart of Table Tennis Yukon have been recognized nationally with the 2023 “recognition of excellence in the sport” for their outstanding achievements and contribution to the sport.

Murphy, who is the president of Table Tennis Yukon, was recognized by Table Tennis Canada with the Contributor to Sport of the Year award. The award highlights someone who has contributed in an extraordinary way to table tennis in Canada.

Stuart, who serves as Murphy’s deputy, received the Official of the Year award. The award is presented to a community member who has played a key role in officiating and promoting fair play and ethical behaviour in the sport.

The awards recognize the outstanding achievements and commitments in table tennis across the country.

Murphy, who has been involved in table tennis both as a player and coach since the 1970s, said he was surprised to be selected for the award because there were other deserving nominees on the list.

“This means a lot to me,” he said. “We did a lot of work to come back from the pandemic, so getting this now shows how far we have come.”

When the News asked Murphy about the impact the award would have on the sport in the territory, he said it would raise the profile of table tennis in the Yukon.

“For a while we may not see the full effect but it will definitely not hurt the profile of the sport in the Yukon. But we still have to put in the work in the game.”

Stuart said it’s good to be acknowledged and recognized for officiating in the Yukon where there are less opportunities.

“I think it (the award) puts me in a place where I have to develop future officials myself,” he said. “I think we will be working on training the next generation because we are a very small community of officials in Canada.”

Stuart added that the recognition will put some pressure on him to work with future officials, “so I can pass my knowledge on. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of Table Tennis Yukon.”

Murphy said they are looking forward to the school year and preparations for the next Arctic Winter Games taking place in March 2024.

“That’s the most immediate thing that we will be developing and certainly it will be a good goal for the athletes we are hoping to develop,” he said. “We just need to keep growing the sport in the territory and hopefully, we will leave behind good sports for the next generation who will step in and take over the administration of the sports from us.”

The awards also recognized athletes of the year as well as coach Afif Charara of Quebec, who was named Coach of the Year.

“For the second time the awards committee added a female and male athlete of the year award to reflect the amazing efforts that the Gender Equity Committee have done over the last few years,” Table Tennis Canada said in a statement.

Ivy Liao from British Columbia received the award for Female Athlete of the Year while Peter Isherwood from B.C. was awarded the Male Athlete of the Year.

Table Tennis Canada said the Athlete of the Year is awarded to a distinguished table tennis player who has excelled at various levels of competition while Coach of the Year recognizes a supportive and hardworking coach who uses their knowledge to develop athletes and increase the profile of the sport in the country.

Contact Patrick Egwu at